On the other hand it was a reminder that I must get the new gansey finished before it turns cold. I have a couple of pounds of hand-spun 5-ply yarn in the project bin and another couple pounds of worsted long wool of singles ready to ply. I guess the question was whether I wanted to add a ply or two of woolen Rambouillet to the yarn for extra softness. I have pounds of the Rambouillet singles, it is just a matter of plying. Time to quit pondering and knit like a demon.
I was spinning, and spinning, as I worked out details of better spinning gear.
I have an new accelerator:
There were several issues to solve, so it took many tries to make it work. (And, a few extra singles were spun along the way as gear was tested, fixed, and retested. And, there were some skills to learn, resulting in more singles.) They are not all great singles, but there is no such thing as a bad lace weight single. They will do just fine as sport weight 5-ply singles.
However, now the AA #0 flier runs at well over 4,000 rpm on a continuous and sustained basis. The bobbin core is .95" the bobbin whorl is 48 mm, and the flier whorls are set for 9, 12, and 18 tpi. This pretty close to the twist required for 10s (75 wpi) , 20s (100 wpi), and 40s (150 wpi). The only ball bearing is the one at the orifice. Most of the bearings are graphite impregnated Delrin, from Henry Clemes. It is very nice stuff. Production of 10s from 60 count combed top seems to be about 650 yd/hr.
This morning I did the calcs, and early next week will make up new flier whorl(s) for 60s and 80s (200 wpi). In theory, I should be able to spin 60s and 80s at better than 200 yards per hour - enough to be useful. However, it would be more of a demo thing than a matter that I want to make fabric that fine - and all of my guild as already seen me spin fines. Still, I do believe that a competent spinner should always be ready to spin fine wool at spin count, so maybe I need whorls for 50s (hosiery singles from Suffolk) and 70s (from that cheap, flock-run, Merino). However, my big projects are loom tissue from 10s and 40s. 40s were the traditional weight of shirting, and bolt of shirting requires a quarter million yards of single. That is real spinning!
I love the big "50 mm" whorls because they give me much more precision with the differential rotation speed. In addition to the 10s, there are hanks and bobbins of 20s and 40s around.
In the past, I did not finish whorls. Now, I finish them with Danish oil because I get a more uniform layer of belt dressing adhering to the whorl. Belt dressing tends to form clumps and lumps on whorls without the oil finish.
The sweaters are being knit from sport weight 5-ply with a soft ply twist on 14" hollow SS 1.65 mm needles with a Shetland knitting belt. These needles tend to collapse when used with a wooden knitting sheath. It is a good, fast, inexpensive system. It works.
I got left at home to make dinner so:
New flyer whorl for 50s, 60s, and 70s. It really is amazing, I hook it up to some moderate grade Merino and let it rip, and there are 20 to 24 fibers in resulting thread. That is the yarn that combination of takeup and twist insertion favors. The spin count of the Merino likely in the 75-77 range so 22 fibers would give me a grist of just under 40,000 ypp, and the whorl works. There are still some geometry issues (drive bands coming off), but right now I do not know a faster and easier way to spin 38,000 ypp singles. I have to dig around and find 60 and 50 count fiber to test the other grooves. (Actually, I know where they are, but I have to get the sawdust out of my hair and bake a cake.)